AMORY – With no in-person classes, many students are finding themselves with more free time and choosing to spend it wisely, including volunteering at or with the Amory Pandemic Response Center’s efforts.
“We have been extraordinarily fortunate to have so many college and high school students volunteering here at the museum, and not just here at the museum in the literal sense, even though some have been on-site,” said Wayne Knox, Amory Regional Museum director and the pandemic response plan coordinator. “Some have family members who are immuno-compromised and can’t get out but can still volunteer.”
Some of the tasks that students can help with from a distance include cutting out fabric and making straps for the masks the museum is making and helping with phone calls to check on the elderly.
At the museum, volunteers have also helped with ironing and cutting out material for the masks, counting and sorting supplies, helping deliver supplies to lower-risk places and taking phone calls.
“These students have many things they can be doing with their time, and some still have online classes. Despite that time crunch, they are still carving out time to help members of their communities, and to see them putting their neighbors over themselves is inspiring,” Knox said. “We have students who volunteer who may have to step away to a quiet part of the museum to do something for their classes and then go back to what they are doing. Anyone who complains about kids these days, I would show them these kids who showed up when they didn’t have to just to help out their communities.”
Clayton Dickerson, a junior at Mississippi State, helps out from his home and also recruited other friends to volunteer.
“I have done a lot of helping with making the masks, but I have also researched different ways we can help health care workers or facilities around the area,” he said. “There are plenty of things that people can be doing to help from home, and it’s also personal habits that you can change like making sure everyone you know is practicing social distancing. Hopefully the more serious we take the stay at home order and limiting social interaction and person-to-person contact, the faster we can get through this in our area.”
Peyton Wall, another Mississippi State junior, volunteers at the pandemic response center, helping with making masks and manning the front desk.
“It’s nice to be able to come here. We’re here in my hometown again, and you feel like you’re homebound and not able to do anything,” Wall said. “To be able to go and make a difference in your community, I feel like that’s special. I think if you have the time, whatever you can do to help us out is big.”